It’s easy to forward an email, “Like” a Facebook page, or support a petition. Tugging heart strings is one of the quickest ways to make a message go viral. But what’s the weight of these actions? Can they help effect meaningful change?
Mikaela Knapp is 25 years old and suffering from aggressive metastatic kidney cancer. She’s been turned down from four clinical trials for a new cancer drug and might not have much time left. The FDA has compassionate use provisions designed to help patients like Mikaela to get access to trial drugs, but compassion is a highly subjective response.
Keith Knapp, Mikaela’s husband, has turned to Change.org to gather support. He’s a quarter of the way to his goal of getting half a million people behind him. The million dollar question now, is how this type of activism impacts upon Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck and Genentech – the companies running the trials.